Epistolary communication of councilor Dr. von Boenninghausen to Dr. Rummel

Allg. hom. zeit., vol. xxxix, page 98

I use a moment of quiet to communicate to you two observations, quite various in their character, one even being drawn from the department of chemistry, and yet both of them seem of use to our science on which account I do not object to their publication.

The first observation is respecting the enormous and fatal effects of the high potencies when the dynamization is much increased by excessive shaking with water. I came to this knowledge in the following manner: In the second half of last winter there were an unusual number of cases of hydrophobia among the dogs, and even at present hardly a day passes without my services being called for to aid some person bitten. Homoeopathy and high potencies have proved their worth. I have used only two or three pellets of the 200th potency dissolved in water for a dose this year, but neither this nor the preceding years have I ever heard that any man or animal treated in this manner by me was seized with hydrophobia. Nevertheless in the last eleven days I have had two deaths of dogs.

The first case was that of a large fine bull-dog of Burgess Boening near Drensteinfurth, that had been bitten by a dog which proved to be mad. As usual I gave the owner, who valued the dog highly, a number of powders, Nos. 1, 3 and 5 Belladonna, 2 Hyoscyamus, 4 Stramonium, all of the 200th potency, to be given every three days in their proper order, one powder dissolved in water by shaking, which could best be effected in a small bottle. This man was too zealous in well-doing, as I afterwards found out, and shook up the powder every time most vigorously for five minutes and over, and than he gave it to the dog with boiled sweet milk which had been allowed to cool off. After each one of these powders the dog had looked very doleful for a whole day; after the last he would not eat any more, though still willing to drink water. On the third day after taking the fifth powder he died, but without showing the least sign of madness or hydrophobia.

About two weeks later I gave the same remedies, to be taken in the same manner, to a large mastiff on Heithorn’s Kolonet in the village of Hittrup, and as if by a providential decree, to impress the lesson taught by the former example, also in this case the shaking of the medicine in water was carried, to excess. In consequence the result was just the same. After the last powder the dog was taken very sick and as he was near dying on the second day they ended
his pains with a bullet. Also this dog did not show any symptom of madness before his death.

It is to be noted that I have given the same remedy in the same dose and the same manner to quite a number of animals of various kinds, horses, cows, hogs and little dogs, as also to some men who had been bitten, without producing any noticeable trouble; nor did hydrophobia appear with any one of them. But so far as I know and can find out by inquiry, in none of those cases had the potentizing been increased by an excess of shaking, as in the two cases given above.

Though we have here two facts, they stand as yet too isolated to derive certain conclusions therefrom, and I fully see that there are many ways of escaping from the deduction. Still these phenomena seem to me of sufficient importance to call attention to them and cause us to give attention to this matter. If others of my honored colleagues should have heard of similar cases, or can communicate other facts which show that my apprehensions as to the effect of too
violent potentizing are baseless, I may well request them for the good of our science to communicate them. *

The second observation is in reference to a discovery by a French chemist, which was presented in a session of the Academy of Sciences in Paris on the 27th of the month, and from which Homoeopathy, as it seems to me, may draw a double use. I will first premise the words of the reporter, Leon Foucauld, in the Journal des Débats, translated into German with the greatest possible faithfulness:

“M. Maumené, Professor of Chemistry at Reims, makes a proposition for the use of reacting tissue for medical use, to indicate by its change of color the presence of sugar in urine. This would be formed of strips of white merino, cut like the paper-strips of test paper used in laboratories; they would be saturated with bichloride of tin. If one of these merino-strips thus prepared is moistened with a fluid containing the smallest amount of sugar, and then heated in
the flame of a candle, the white color will quickly pass into blackish-brown by the browning of the sugar. M. Maumené has convinced himself that neither urates, nor uric acid, nor any substance present in normal urine will produce a similar change of color; so that whenever this is seen we may at once surely conclude the presence of diabetic sugar.”

“The reason why we should use strips of merino, and not paper or a tissue woven of flax or hemp, is because bichloride of tin would blacken and carbonize such a strip, since it approaches too closely to the chemical constitution of sugar. It was, therefore, necessary to discover a substance which resists the action of chlorine, and this is only found in such a
mineral substance. Parchment itself cannot be used, because when heated it hardens like horn. But merino is quite free from these faults, and when prepared in the manner mentioned above, the practical physician can always carry such strips in his letter-case and in every case where he suspects sugar he can at once make his tests.”

I have stated above that this discovery, the correctness of which can hardly be questioned, promises a double advantage: In the first place, without wearisome chemical processes, we can at once establish the presence of diabetes, but then also it will enable us to enrich our medical treasury in this disease, always difficult to cure. For all that has so far become known with respect to it has been drawn only ex usu in morbis. We cannot doubt that several of our
powerful remedies are able to counteract this malignant disease; but we do not know them, as yet, because in our provings the peculiar transmutation of the urine has not been noted, and owing to the troublesome and tedious chemical decomposition required could hardly have been observed. But now, that so easy and simple a test has been found by which to discover the presence of sugar in the urine, it will not be difficult to make up this deficiency in our
provings.

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